Author: totalbatshit

Farewell to Dreads

After 10 years of unparalleled awesome, I have combed out my dreadlocks. Yes, combed out. All of them. Well, all except for two, because I am a monster who cannot resist the urge to hack at her own hair with a pair of children’s craft scissors.

There was no mystic or conspiratorial reason behind this, and I didn’t find any alien implants in my newly revealed scalp (unfortunately). There’s actually nothing at all batshit about this post, except for possibly the 20+ hours of effort I put into something as superficial as changing hairstyles. But if you’re thinking about combing out your own dreads, need to build up courage for a radical hair change, or even just want to check out 10 years of dread styles and colours, click through to the full post.

IMG_39952010: Parting is such sweet sorrow…

(more…)

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Total Batshit is getting surprisingly regular traffic, so I guess I’m not the only person interested in this stuff. Thank you for stopping by, random visitors! If you like what you see, please scroll down and sign up to follow this blog via email.

I have a couple of projects keeping me busy at the moment (their codenames being “Adventure Time”, “beer” and “unnecessary quotation marks”), so it could be a fortnight before my next proper post. In the meantime, check out this article about the Korean Airlines Flight 007 conspiracy theory. It’s classic Reagan-era Batshit that reminds us “One should never underestimate the role of stupidity in history.”

stupid-ancient-aliens-guy

 

Serial Killer Q&A #1: David Berkowitz

Welcome to Serial Killer Q&A, a new irregular feature exclusive to Total Batshit. Yeah, that’s right – exclusive. That’s marketing gold, that is.

While multiple murderers are unfortunately very real, many of the beliefs around them are not. Each instalment of Serial Killer Q&A will focus on a different individual and address some of the questions relating to their crimes, as well as popular perceptions of serial murder. This could make Q&A posts a tad darker than the usual Batshit fare, but I’d encourage you to give them a shot even if you’re not a true crime fan. I promise this stuff is interesting!

*   *   *

1. Who is David Berkowitz?

In short, this guy:

David Berkowitz, at Police Headquarter in Yonkers
Is that all you needed to know?

Between July 1976 and August 1977, David Berkowitz terrorised New York City as the Son of Sam (formerly the .44 Caliber Killer). He shot 13 people, killing 6 and seriously wounding 7, and appeared to target young women with long dark hair. Berkowitz wrote bizarre letters to police and journalists, which claimed “Papa Sam” demanded the killings in order to quench his thirst for blood. The NYPD originally considered Berkowitz a witness, but when they contacted Yonkers police for assistance in tracking him down, the local PD informed them that the contents of one of the Son of Sam letters made them suspect Berkowitz was the killer. At the time of his arrest, Berkowitz confessed to all of the crimes. He explained that the “Sam” in his letters was his former neighbour, Sam Carr, whose demonically possessed labrador ordered him to kill.

2. Is David Berkowitz a psychopath?

I’m not a psychiatrist and I’ve never met David Berkowitz, so I’m not even slightly qualified to give a diagnosis. But since this is my blog (and since I spend an unhealthy amount of time reading about these things), I will give you my personal, uneducated opinion, which is that Berkowitz sounds more psychotic than psychopathic. What’s the difference? “Psychotic” is a sort of umbrella term that describes symptoms and conditions that cause people to loss touch with reality (or at least alter their perception of it). Psychotic symptoms include delusions and hallucinations (both visual and auditory), and an example of a psychotic condition is schizophrenia. People with psychotic conditions are rarely violent (and, in fact, are more likely to be victims of violence than commit it), but a person suffering psychosis may become violent if they are scared and misinterpret what they’re experiencing. This is more likely to occur if the person is not receiving treatment or has exasperated their condition with drugs or alcohol.

Psychopathy, on the other hand, is a behavioural disorder in which individuals display superficial charm, high intelligence, manipulative and impulsive behaviour, pathological lying and egocentricity, incapacity to love, lack of remorse or shame, etcetera. They are not intrinsically violent, but are selfish and lacking in empathy, which makes it easy for them to pursue their own desires at the expense of other people. It’s estimated that 1% of the population are psychopaths, and those that don’t end up in jail often become successful CEOs, lawyers* and neuroscientists.

american-psycho
And Wall Street douchebags (source: http://videovortex.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/all-time-classics-american-psycho-2000/).

In 1977 David Berkowitz was not someone who was described as charismatic or likeable; he was an odd loner whose confusion of fantasy and reality made people uncomfortable. He moved house in attempt to escape from “howling demons”, and sent threatening letters to neighbours Sam Carr (“I can see that there will be no peace in my life, or my family’s life, until I end yours…”) and Craig Glassman (“True, I am the killer, but Craig, the killings are at your command…”), whom he claimed were part of a Satanic group that persecuted him. He shot dogs that he believed were speaking to him, scrawled Satanic graffiti all over the walls of his apartment, and kept notebooks documenting hundreds of fires he had lit around New York City. That’s the behaviour of a psychotic, not a psychopath.

3. Were the Son of Sam murders part of a Satanic conspiracy?

Sorry, did you just skip over the previous two sections about rambling letters and talking dogs? OK, fine, let’s have a look at this “theory”.

While Berkowitz had long demonstrated a preoccupation with the occult, the Satanic cult conspiracy theory only picked up steam in the early ’90s with the great Satanic Panic. After becoming a born-again Christian in 1987, Berkowitz made the claim that he had joined a Satanic Cult in 1975. In 1993 he told the press that the Son of Sam murders were ritual slayings intended to instigate war and chaos, and that he personally had only killed three people. Several cultists were involved in each attack – they assisted with planning, surveillance of victims, and acted as lookouts and drivers. Berkowitz was only willing to name two of his (supposed) co-conspirators: John and Michael Carr, the long-dead sons of Sam Carr.

theesatanicchurch001In 1975 fifteen bucks was quite a commitment! I would have just played some D&D.
(Source: http://occultchicago.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/advertisement-for-thee-satanic-chuch.html)

At the time of the attacks, some individuals close to the case expressed the belief that Berkowitz had not acted alone. This and Berkowitz’s claims resulted in the reopening of the Son of Sam case in 1996; however, it was eventually suspended due to lack of findings.

From my advanced Google-fu, it appears the only evidence to support the conspiracy theory are the varying witness descriptions of the shooter (specifically his hair) and the supposedly Satanic suicide of John Carr. The former can be explained by taking a closer look at the descriptions; following one attack two separate witnesses said the shooter looked like he was wearing a cheap blond wig, and if we disregard hair colour the majority of descriptions across all of the crimes match Berkowitz. The latter seems to be an odd, but not unbelievable, coincidence.

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with former Chief of Detectives Joseph Borrelli, who said, “The best proof I have that he acted alone: Has there been a homicide of a similar nature since?” If a cult was determined to start a war through human sacrifice, wouldn’t they continue to kill using one of the other shooters? I also think it’s telling that Berkowitz’s testimony changed after his conversion to evangelical Christianity. Obsession with religion, religious delusions,  delusions of grandeur (particularly the belief that you have a special purpose or mission) – all are common signs of schizophrenia, and I believe all are present in both Berkowitz’s original testimony and his current statements. Berkowitz has just changed focus from Satan to Christ.

4. Why did Son of Sam attack women?

Berkowitz targeted young brunette women, usually in pairs and sometimes with their boyfriends, but his changing testimony makes it difficult to determine why.  In 1979 Berkowitz said his original claims of demonic possession were a hoax and that he targeted women to punish them for rejecting him both romantically and maternally (as in the case of his biological mother, who gave him up for adoption to preserve a relationship with a married man). When Berkowitz returned to more Satanic explanations in the late ’80s, he claimed the “sacrifices” were chosen because they were young and middle-class – perfect symbols of the American future his cult was trying to destroy.

We may never be able to understand Berkowitz’s personal motivation, but the statistics of serial murder victims as a whole reveal some disturbing patterns. 70% of victims are women, and victims of both genders are often chosen from marginalised and/or vulnerable groups: prostitutes, runaways, migrant workers, hospital patients, children, and the LGBTIQ community. Selecting victims who are either estranged from family and friends (and who are less likely to be reported as missing), or who are widely discriminated against (and whose deaths rarely result in major media coverage or public outcry) not only has practical advantages in evading capture, but helps the killer dehumanise their victims and rationalise their own actions. These people “won’t be missed” (Ted Bundy: Conversations With A Killer) or “deserve to be punished”.

We could now easily move into questions of agency versus culture and nature versus nurture, but that’s a whoooole other post. However, it’s my opinion that serial killers, like art, do not exist in a vacuum, no matter how irrational their actions may seem.

vacuum_sealed_fresh_love_1Existing in a vacuum isn’t good for anyone.
(Source: http://youbentmywookie.com/wtf/fresh-love-bizarre-japanese-art-vacumm-sealed-couples-in-plastic-bags-15155)

5. Where is David Berkowitz now?

Berkowitz is currently incarcerated at Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York. He writes blogs and articles for his evangelical website (which is maintained by volunteers, as Berkowitz is not allowed access to a computer) and works in the prison’s Special Needs Unit and church.

SSRecent pic (from AriseandShine.org).

Since 2002 Berkowitz has repeatedly requested that his parole hearings be cancelled, stating, “In all honesty, I believe that I deserve to be in prison for the rest of my life. I have, with God’s help, long ago come to terms with my situation and I have accepted my punishment.” He often expresses concern over the public’s interest in violent crime, and in 2005 he sued Hugo Harmatz, one of his former attorneys, for publishing a collection of his letters. Berkowitz demanded that Harmatz return his possessions and donate the money he made off them to the Son of Sam victims and their families. They settled out of court when Harmatz agreed to donate part of the book’s profits to the New York State Crime Victims Board.

 

Are you a true crime buff? Leave a comment to suggest a subject for the next Serial Killer Q&A!

6 Politicians With Alien Connections

Sorry for the radio silence, Batshitters, but I’ve spent much of the last month in a depressive slump, making it hard to get things done. “Why so serious?” you ask? Oh, just watching Australia piss its future down the drain, no biggie…

I need some cheering up, and if you’re reading this I’ll assume you do too. So let’s share some LOLs as we ruthlessly mock 6 Politicians With Alien Connections.

1. Jimmy Carter

 JimmyCarter alf copy

Former President Jimmy Carter saw a UFO when he visited Leary, Georgia in 1969 (presumably to appear as guest of honour at a peanut-farming symposium). He’s told the story in numerous interviews, including this one on Larry King Live:

Carter reported the incident to Oklahoma City’s International UFO Bureau in 1973, and an investigation was carried out in 1976. Only one other person recalled seeing anything in the sky that night; an object they described as “some kind of weather balloon” (just like the crash at Roswell. How many of those things do you need, America?).

While Carter has repeatedly stated that he does NOT believe he saw an alien spacecraft, during his presidential campaign he promised that if elected he would release all information regarding UFO sightings. This didn’t happen, probably because Carter was faffing about with his duties as Leader of the Free World. Whatever, J-Dog!

2. Paul Hellyer

 Paul Hellyer gazoo

Former Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer believes there are 80 different alien species zipping around the universe, four of which have been visiting Earth for thousands of years. Their hobbies include dressing as nuns so they can go shopping in Vegas (because how else would you disguise yourself if you wanted to go unnoticed in Sin City?) and ripping off Star Trek (see the Prime Directive).

While the prospect of a ’60s Defence Minister (even a Canadian one) confirming the existence of intelligent, butt-probing life sounds promising, unfortunately Hellyer does not have any first-hand proof to back up his claims. He has never met an alien, and while a couple of UFO reports landed on his desk back in the day, he never investigated any of them. In fact, Hellyer’s own belief seems to be based entirely upon his reading of The Day After Roswell, as well as the fact that he’s about a hundred years old. A bit of a shame, really, because I respect his Fin Review-style message of WORLD IS FUKT.

3. Ronald Reagan 

 Ronald Reagan

Former President Ronald Reagan must have been a dream come true for the National Enquirer. He followed Astrology (to the extent that he and his wife Nancy installed a full-time advisor after the assassination attempt) and believed Abraham Lincoln’s ghost haunted the White House. He also had two close encounters, the first of which occurred while he was on his way to a party thrown by Lucille Ball. According to actress Shirley MacLaine, Ronald and Nancy watched a spaceship land and an ET occupant emerge. The visitor spoke with the couple and recommended that Ronald give up acting and enter politics, a story that puts a serious hole in the theory of “advanced” alien intelligence.

Evidently these encounters left quite an impression on Reagan, as many of his speeches mentioned aliens and space invasions. Have a listen while I check if he has a screenwriting credit in Independence Day:

 

4. John Key 

 john_key chestburster

 Great news, guys – New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is NOT a Reptilian alien. Phew!

After Auckland man Shane Warbrooke made a freedom of information request for “Any evidence to disprove the theory that Mr John Key is in fact a David Icke-style shapeshifting reptilian alien ushering humanity towards enslavement,” Keys sought the advice of a doctor and a vet, both of whom confirmed his dull humanity. At least, that’s what he says! I agree with this blog – if Keys is a Lizard Man hell-bent on world domination, he’s probably not going to admit it.

5. Nixon (does he even need a first name?)

 nixonrobocop
This… I don’t even have to… WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!
(source: http://whatculture.com/film/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-robocop.php)

Former President (and current head in a jar) Nixon was well known for his love of sports, but it seems not even he could maintain interest in a full game of golf. After playing a few holes with actor Jackie Gleason (aka Ralph Kramden, domestic violence enthusiast and inspiration for Fred Flintstone), the conversation turned to the subject of UFOs. Later that evening, Nixon turned up unexpectedly at Gleason’s home and offered to show him something. The President then drove the unauthorised, unqualified, civilian entertainer to Homestead Air Force Base, where he showed him some mangled alien corpses. This would have allowed him to tick yet another achievement off his World’s Shittest President to-do list.

According to Gleason’s then-wife, the frightened actor confided in her when he returned home, asking her not to repeat the story to anyone. Unfortunately for him, she spilled the beans in an interview she gave during their separation period, which pissed Gleason off enough to end the marriage once and for all. It was only when he got upset that she wondered if he might have made the whole thing up…

6. Simon Parkes

 Simon Parkes sex fiend

Whitby Councillor Simon Parkes claims he is abducted four times a year so that he can have sex with his alien wife, with whom he shares a child named Zarka. He experienced his first alien contact while still in the womb, and his first physical encounter at the age of six months. He also lost his virginity to a space hologram when he was five.

Apparently the reason for the intergalactic interest in Parkes is not his awe-inspiring comb-over, but the fact that he himself is part alien. His “true” mother is a 2.7m tall Reptilian who… Wait, aren’t Reptilians the bad guys? And he’s admitting being one? Why isn’t David Icke dissecting, or at least interrogating, him right now?

Here’s a two-hour interview conducted by Project Avalon. I think I got to about 1hr 45min before my brain snapped.

 

Still feeling depressed? Leave a comment to vote for the politician you’d most like to see abducted and probed.

The Heiner Affair (or: Real Conspiracies Are Messy)

In another time (2002) and another place (Queensland), I studied journalism and media studies at the University of Queensland. I loved it and was not entirely incompetent, but the University of Technology’s phallic architecture and bunker-style interior design seduced me into transferring to a creative writing/cultural studies degree in Sydney. My writing style became a bit mongrel as a result – a mix of journalistic, fiction, academic, and, now, copy writing techniques, with no real mastery of any particular area.

taylor-the-mixed-breed-2_62802_2011-12-09_w450
On the plus side, I am adorable and considerably less inbred than all of you pedigree bastards.
(source: http://www.dailypuppy.com/puppies/taylor-the-mixed-breed_2011-12-09)

While I was only at UQ for a year, my lecturers and tutors left a deep impression, none more so than Dr Bruce Grundy, the school’s Journalist in Residence. Grundy was earnest, wry and subversive; he removed the topics of Sport and Religion (which he considered irrelevant) from our ‘Institutions in Australian Society’ course so that he could arrange a lecture on Indigenous Australian history instead. He also taught us about the Fitzgerald Enquiry and was determined that if we learnt nothing else in our first year we would at least go away with the knowledge of how foul and corrupt Queensland’s history was; how foul and corrupt Queensland remained.

What I remember most about Grundy was his work with a woman who had, as a teenager, been abused at the notorious John Oxley Youth Centre. During an excursion to Mount Barney National Park, the girl had somehow ended up being left unsupervised with a group of older male inmates, two of whom raped her before they were discovered by a staff member. The staff member suspected some “sexual contact” had occurred between the children, but was unable to get an answer from any of them. The excursion continued, but the boys ran away into the bush just before it was time to return to the centre. The same chaperone who had found the children the first time voiced his concerns about the possible assault to the other members of staff, and the girl was taken back to the centre while some of the officers stayed behind to look for the boys. The boys later made a call from a phone box to say that the girl had “egged them on” (further confirming the likelihood that an assault had taken place), but the girl was not spoken to until the following day. At that time she stated that the boys had pressured her into having sex and confirmed that she would like to press charges; however, she changed her mind a few days later after she was bullied and threatened by other children.

The incident was soon mostly forgotten, but in 1989 retired magistrate Noel Heiner was enlisted to investigate complaints from John Oxley staff, ostensibly regarding wages and conditions. The Goss Labor Government then came into power, at which point it was found that the Heiner inquiry had not been properly constituted. Because of this, in January 1990 the decision was made to shred all of the material that had been collected. However, Kevin Lindeberg, a former union official, claimed that the Heiner documents included reports of physical and sexual abuse of children at the centre. Lindeberg said that he sought access to the documents in January and February of 1990, and that the Queensland Government had been advised not to destroy the files until the matter had been resolved. The shit really hit in the fan in 1999, when former Member for Windsor Pat Comben stated on Channel Nine’s Sunday program that at the time of the shredding,  ” [W]e were all made aware that there was material about child abuse. Individual members of cabinet were increasingly concerned about whether or not the right decision had been taken.”

Grundy believed that the Heiner documents contained evidence not only of the rape I have just discussed, but of a systemic cover-up of abuse of children by both staff and older inmates. He worked tirelessly to investigate, petition and write news stories to help bring her experience to light, and the case became a part of the curriculum for his subjects. Many students became involved in the cause.

So, why am I writing about this now? Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a post on conspiracies that had actually happened, and I wanted to include some Queensland madness. I couldn’t remember having seen or heard anything about Grundy’s cause in the last few years, so I trawled Google News to get caught up and… I was dismayed. In the years since I’d left UQ, the Heiner Affair had been embraced by every right-wing lunatic that had an axe to grind against the Rudd-Gillard Labor Government. Almost all of the stories I found were incredibly biased opinion pieces, and the most recent ones featured a lot of back-pedalling and retractions.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Honestly, I have no frigging idea. The absence of an Upper House grants Queensland its famous power to “get things done” (or undone – see the Newman Goverment’s watering down of same-sex civil unions less than three months after their election), which is fantastic for gerrymandering and corruption. However, the lack of interest from mainstream and/or reputable press is baffling, and the poor standard of much of the “reporting” that does exist does not give credence to the cause. From what I’ve read, no-one has denied that the handling of the girl’s assault (and, I’m sure, other cases at John Oxley) was grossly inadequate, but with the Heiner documents long gone it seems impossible to prove what their contents were or the Goss Government’s true motive for destroying them.

Having known and very much respected Bruce Grundy, I cannot doubt his integrity – and he certainly has done some amazing work over the years. But is he wrong on this one? All I can say conclusively is that real conspiracies are messier, more destructive, and infinitely harder to get to the bottom of than fanciful bullshit about Reptilians and pyramid eyes.

Phew! That was a long (and heavy) read for Batshit. If you managed to stick it out, treat yourself to Evil Eddie’s brilliant ode to my (vexing) home state!

Dungeons & Dragons (Nerds <3 Satan)

I have some pretty nerdy interests (not surprising for someone who blogs about aliens and conspiracies), but it wasn’t until I met my partner that I entered the shameful world of RPGs. Not wanting to disgrace myself alone, I quickly dragged down some of our friends, and we now get together on a semi-regular basis to play Dungeons & Dragons, RuneQuest, Mutants & Masterminds, and whatever other random game temporarily grabs our interest.

Our group is pretty relaxed, so we usually end up drinking a lot and trying to screw up the GM/DM’s carefully laid plans. For arseholes like us, there’s no greater satisfaction than seeing the gut-punch expression on our GM’s face when we insta-kill a boss monster by stabbing it in its enchanted shin, or talk some maniac out of beheading us simply by being adorable. It’s not the success or violence we enjoy, but shitting all over something that one of our friends has spent hours working on. That’s just the sort of people we are.

Arseholery aside, you may wonder where my initial interest came from. I’m not really a huge fan of video games or the fantasy/sci-fi genres, so how did I even learn that D&D existed?  Well, from movies like this:

The “sensational conspiracy of murder” was hatched between 20-year-old Chris Pritchard and two of his college friends, who plotted to kill Pritchard’s mother and stepfather (Bonnie and Lieth Von Stein) so that he could make an early claim on his $2 million inheritance.  The three young men attacked the Von Steins one night while they slept; Bonnie Von Stein was badly injured, and Lieth Von Stein was killed.

The “sensational” part of the crime was not the cold-hearted greed or the privileged background of the perpetrators, but the fact that they played Dungeons & Dragons together. This united them in a Satanic pact of blood and death that blurred the lines between fantasy and reality… supposedly.

The Pritchard crimes were committed in 1988, after almost a decade of D&D hysteria. Groups such as BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons, which is quite an understated name when you consider their accusations) claimed that the game was addictive, dangerously absorbing and lured unsuspecting children into witchcraft and devil worship. Concerned (paranoid) citizens (lunactics)  distributed pamphlets, went on talk shows and even wrote books to spread the word and try to get the game banned.

The propaganda was ridiculous. Check out these brilliant examples:

BADD-pg0

Contents page from a BADD “information” pamphlet. (Source: theescapist.com)

0046_04
A classic Chick tract.

According to these sources, as well as some contemporary news reports, more than a few teachers, psychiatrists and law enforcers shared BADD’s fears. One of my absolute favourite quotes is from the 1988 book Stairway To Hell by Rick Jones (whoever that is). In it, an ex-police officer/occult lecturer is reported as saying that D&D is “..supposed to be a board game, but kids play it for life and death on the street.”

BloodZnCripZ D&D copy
Please let this be true, and please, PLEASE let someone turn it into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Lauryn Hill.
(Original image source: hiphopisland.com)

 God, how I wish these ideas were true. One of my characters is a halfling cannibal druid who morphs into a honey badger during combat – I would be crazy to turn down that sort of power! But, alas, all D&D has ever taught me are some basic flanking rules and the average number of standard drinks it takes to make our Irish friend fall asleep mid-sentence (hint: it’s a lot).

The freak-out over Dungeons & Dragons was really an offshoot of Satanic Panic, which had spread throughout the US and other countries following the McMartin Preschool trial and the release of the (now discredited) autobiography Michelle Remembers. Most of the controversy died during the late ’90s, when the various Murdoch newstatorships very kindly gave the public other things to be scared of. However, the odd story still pops up.

To me, the irony of moral panics is that it is often much scarier to be a part of the demonised group (ie: a D&D player or “Satanist”) than the supposedly terrorised majority. In a column titled  How We Won the War on Dungeons & DragonsAnnalee Newitz recalls how some young gamers were “..ostracised by their peers, kicked out of public schools, and sent to glorified re-education camps by parents who feared their children were about to start sacrificing babies to Lolth the spider demon.”

Kicking people out of schools? Re-education camps? I’m so glad we don’t do that anymore!

Hippie Aliens Bring Love and Voice Modification Software

I got a new job on Monday, so much of this week’s Batshit time has been dedicated to chasing up super details and plotting a glorious escape from my current employer. But don’t worry; I still have a little something for you. Check this out:

Believe it or not, this actually happened. At the time, the  Independent Broadcasting Authority declared it to be an elaborate hoax, but the identity of Gramaha has never been determined. Most contemporary theories blame pirates, who were probably unsatisfied with the limited pillaging prospects available in ’70s Britain.

Expect an actual update sometime on the weekend! If you’re really lucky, it might even be about something other than aliens.

Space Italians and their Disappointing Pancakes

Last week I wrote about five of the most popular alien cliches that are supposedly causing mischief all over the galaxy (the scallywags). Many of these ideas came out of the Cold War freak-out of the ’40s and ’50s, and were later reinforced by movies and TV. Thanks to popular culture, we now all “know” what an alien looks like and how our close encounter should play out.

There are, however, some cases that refuse to fit the mould. Cases like Joe Simonton and the Eagle River Pancakes.

On April 18 1961, Simonton (a Wisconsin chicken farmer and part-time Santa Claus) was preparing breakfast when he heard what sounded like “knobby tires on wet pavement”. He went outside to investigate and found a flying saucer landing in his backyard.

Drawing on an iron will that only years of poultry-tending could produce, Simonton swallowed his fear and approached the craft. At the same time, a hatch door opened and revealed three shocking and obviously otherworldly beings. The creatures had dark skin, were approximately 5ft tall, and wore stylish blue turtlenecks. Simonton later described them as being “Italian-looking”, presumably because that was the most exotic form of humanoid he could image.

Mike-The-Situation-Sorrentino-Wants-Out-of-Jersey-Shore-2
UFO, or GTL? (Thanks, Mark!)

Either through telepathy or elaborate pantomime, one of the beings (to whom we’ll award the title of Captain)  managed to ask Simonton for some water. The ET gave Simonton a “beautiful thermos-like jug,” which he took to his basement to fill up. He then returned to the craft and gave the jug back, which allowed him a chance to have a bit of a stickybeak inside.

EagleRiverCEIII
The Captain, meanwhile, wondered why Simonton had filled his pimp cup with water instead of Cristal…

A second alien stood in front of an instrument panel (no doubt doing something very important and science-y), but it was the third spaceman who really caught Joe’s attention. He was cooking thin, perforated pancakes on a flameless griddle, which Joe seemed to think looked rather scrummy. The farmer gestured to the Captain to ask for one, and in stereotypically Italian fashion the Martian boss gave him four. The Captain then gave Simonton a grateful salute before the hatch door closed and the saucer shot off into space.

Simonton ate one of the pancakes, which he later said tasted like cardboard. He then called his local police to report the assault on his tastebuds.

EagleRiverCEIIIphotoI fail to see how this wasn’t delicious.

A government lab tested one of the pancakes and found that it was made of flour, grease and water (again making its lack of tastiness almost supernaturally inexplicable). It has been rumoured that the flour was of an unknown, possibly extraterrestrial, origin, but the simple truth is that the Air Force had not bothered to break it down that far because they had better things to do with their time.

The Air Force’s official verdict was that while he was preparing his breakfast, Simonton had experienced a kind of waking dream that then developed into a full-blown delusion. However, Raymond Palmer (a publisher of paranormal science and pulp magazines) believed that Simonton had been hypnotised by a real estate broker, who wanted to gain publicity for a Disney-style theme park that was to be built nearby. This theory makes total sense, especially if you smoke a lot of crack…

While I’m sure we can all agree that it offers no firm evidence to support the existence of either aliens or Italians, the tale of the Eagle Farm Pancakes is still a lot of fun. Does it tell us anything about the evolution of UFO conspiracy myths or the culture that spawned them? Probably not much, although it is interesting to note to Simonton does not recall anything sinister about his encounter (as opposed to the common themes of abduction, invasive medical experimentation, warnings of impending doom, etc). In fact, the only negativity Simonton reported was from the all-too-human press, whom he felt ridiculed and laughed at him. Personally, I find Joe’s story rather endearing. Upon meeting strange new people, Joe’s first instinct was to try to communicate and offer assistance, not run away or grab a flaming torch. Isn’t that worth admiring?

 

Are mysterious space Italians trying to fatten you up? Tell me about it in the comments!

5 Alien Species You NEED to Know About

If you believe Reader’s Digest compilations and online forums, there are many different alien races out there. And by ‘out there’ I mean hooning around Wiltshire vandalising wheat fields and molesting cows before dashing off to donate technology to Nazis…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just as a child (even a genetically modified ET-human hybrid) must learn to crawl before it can walk, you must learn the five basic alien “types” before I can blow your mind with the serious batshit. So let’s get on with the introductions.

1. Greys

grey-alien
source: coolinterestingstuff.com

The go-to image for ‘alien’ in Western popular culture, and absolute proof that you don’t need to believe in something for it to scare the shit out of you. These guys frigging terrify me! If I ever saw a living creature that looked like this, I would probably drown in a flood of my own tears and urine.

Greys are most commonly associated with abduction and experimentation. They appear in 43% and 50% of US and Australian close encounters, as well as a whopping 90% of Canadian accounts. Experts credit this to their well-documented love of poutine.

2. Men in Black

arton18918
The most serious of the MIB’s crimes was the release of some truly abysmal ’90s hip-pop…

Or not.

Possibly alien, possibly human, possibly even mechanical, MIBs reportedly visit UFO witnesses in the days following their encounter, usually to make some vague threats they never bother to act upon. They typically wear new (but strangely out-of-date) black suits, drive pristine vintage cars, and display odd behaviour, such as trouble walking or unusual excitement over things like ballpoint pens and Jell-O. My own theory that they are simply ska fans on acid is yet to be disproved.

3. Pleiadians (aka Nordics)

nordic
You can tell these are the “good” aliens because they’re white and blonde. SPACE RACISM!

Aryan space hippies who just want to save us from ourselves. Pleiadians are said to be tall, blond and blue-eyed, with either fair or tanned skin. They are fond of skin-tight clothing, sex with bored housewives, and are a favourite of New-Age spiritualists (who tend to be more interested in positive ET energies than paranoid conspiracy theories).

Reports of Nordic visitations mostly come from Europe, the continent of which Scandinavia is coincidently a part of. There is only one plausible explanation: the Vikings were Pleiadian colonialists.

Abba_proof!
It all makes sense now.

4. Reptilians (aka Draconians)

hillary-clinton-alien
source: abovetopsecret.com

Shape-shifting beings originally from the Alpha Draconis star system who now rule Earth, making all of us unwitting slaves. Despite wearing their holographic disguises for years on end (which you’d think would make them pretty good at it), Reptilians occasionally lose focus and reveal their true features – usually a narrowing of the pupils or sharpening of the teeth. Popularly accepted Reptilians include Queen Elizabeth, George Bush (senior and junior),  Hillary Clinton, Hugh Hefner and Beyonce.

4% of registered US voters believe the Reptilians theory. 

5. Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens collage
That hair says more than real evidence ever could.

OK, so this last one is not about a species, but the theory that extraterrestrials have been visiting Earth for thousands of years to guide our evolution, teach us about astronomy and build us some lovely pyramids. This might sound like blasphemy, but the good news is that you can have your alien pie and still say grace before you eat it. Everything in our religious texts is literally true; you just need to accept that your deities, prophets and angels were all spacemen.

Ancient Aliens, a television series dedicated to the theory and its ‘experts’, is currently airing its sixth season on the History Channel. Why should HC limit itself to things that actually happened?

There is MUCH more to say about all of our space bros, and I am sure we will revisit them soon. But for now, have I overlooked any major ET kingdoms? Leave a comment to tell me about your favourite aliens!

Late already!

I’ve had a busy (although rather positive) week, so I’m only halfway through the next Batshit. Considering this would have been only my second proper post, I think that’s a tremendous effort in time mismanagement and general buggering-aroundery.

I should have some weirdness to share sometime over the weekend. In the meantime, let’s celebrate with a sparkly rainbow Nic Cage!

nic cage rainbow